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Transcript of Remarks by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following Meeting with King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Marrakesh, November 22, 2005

2481-23-11-2005

Foreign Minister Lavrov: My meeting with King Mohammed VI of Morocco has just ended. We stated our satisfaction with the way the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, which the King signed with President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Russia in 2002, is being realized. I conveyed to His Majesty a message from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin expressing the hope for an even more onward development of our relations in all fields.

We noted the record-high trade between our countries. Morocco has since the signing of the Declaration moved into first place among Russia's trade partners not only in North, but in all of Africa. The indicators for the first nine months of this year give grounds to speak with certainty that this level will be even higher.

In conversation with the King of Morocco, it was affirmed that both sides are satisfied with the progress made and think of how not only to build up further our trade, but also to develop serious investment projects. There are some plans in the area of Russian investment in tourism and geological exploration in Morocco, in the development of natural resources. A considerable interest is being shown here in Russian high technologies, including space technologies. Since the Moroccan earth-sensing satellite was orbited in 2001 contacts have been continuing between the appropriate experts of the two countries. There are good prospects for new projects in this field.

We expressed the hope that the upcoming meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission in the first half of the next year will be marked by the conclusion of supplementary agreements. A whole array of agreements are being actively elaborated, in particular on tourism and cultural cooperation, on investment protection and in other fields.

I shall note that more than ten thousand Moroccans have graduated from Soviet or Russian universities and colleges. Another 2,500 citizens of Morocco are being trained in Russia now. Interest in an area of our interaction like education is very, very high.

There was noted the similarity, and in most cases also the identity of our positions on regional and international problems, including Middle East settlement, the situation around Iran as well as Syria and Lebanon, and the approach towards reforms in the Greater Middle East and North Africa region.

We have also affirmed the unacceptability of any attempts to apply double standards in the struggle against terrorism, have affirmed the task of not only eradicating any manifestations of terrorism, but also of continuing simultaneously the work to eliminate the socioeconomic breeding ground for extremists. In this regard, it is indicative that the leaderships in both Russia and Morocco are now paying special attention to the implementation of socially significant national projects.

November 23, 2005

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